Despite wartime restrictions, Lam remained in touch with a network of contacts in the early 1940s. The Cuban anthropologists Fernando Ortiz and Lydia Cabrera both published early accounts of his work. He maintained contact with Césaire. Friends from Europe found their way to Havana. Pierre Mabille visited. Cuban writer and music scholar Alejo Carpentier returned to write about Caribbean magic realism. Pierre Loeb saw out much of the war in Cuba, and exhibited Lam’s work again in Paris in 1945.

Lam was also in continual contact with Breton, now based in New York. For Breton the painter represented a further renewal of surrealism, shared with contemporaries such as Roberto Matta and Arshile Gorky. As a result, Breton promoted several of Lam’s exhibitions at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York.